There has been a term that was brought up in Parliament recently: “Ageless Jobs, Evergreen Workers”
NTUC Deputy Secretary-General Heng Chee How called on the Government to redouble its efforts to create Ageless Jobs and Evergreen Workers, during his Budget Debate speech.
He said: “This is the surest and ultimately the only way we can make best use of our potential as a nation and a people, and create that Better Future that we all hope for.”
What does this mean for workers and employers?
An ageing workforce
As Singapore’s population continues to age, the workforce ages together with it.
Hence, there is a need for employers to redesign workplaces which are mature workers-friendly.
This can take the form of process redesign or jobs redesign.
(Ronald (right), together with his trainees)
Meet 48 year-old Ronald Khoo. He works as a Principal Trainer for NTUC LearningHub’s Forklift Operation Course.
Having had various jobs in the course of his working life, Ronald got his current job with the help of NTUC’s e2i (Employment and Employability Institute).
In fact, to better help him in his work, his employers helped to support a course developer and facilitator course which he wanted to do.
Ronald’s highest education qualification is his ‘N’ Levels, and he says shares that it was difficult for him to look for a job because of his lack of educational qualifications.
“With the course I was better able to be a trainer and course developer,” said Ronald.
He admits that at age 48, for him to attend skills deepening courses is not easy, let alone look for a new job should he lose his job.
“If it already is not so easy for someone like me, what would it be like for someone above the age of 55,” he added.
Another need that Mr Heng mentions is to nurture evergreen workers. He mentioned that companies today “still think, plan and operate as if workers will retire at age 55 or 60.”
The common thinking among some companies is that older workers do not have a long runway to “give back” to the company, which is not worth the investment in training.
Helping mature workers match-up
Indeed, it is not so easy for mature workers to compete with younger workers in looking for a new job and ensuring their employability.
Moreover, if mature workers continue to be left un-skilled and un-updated, they will become a drag on the company’s productivity.
Hence employers and companies must continue to invest in the training and updating of their mature workers to mitigate the problem.
The call by Mr Heng to redouble efforts to create Ageless Jobs and Evergreen Workers thus rings true, as “this is the surest and ultimately the only way we can make best use of our potential as a nation and a people, and create that Better Future that we all hope for.”